Spoken Word doesn’t miss a beat

Sorcha Chow, Staffer

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At 6:30 pm Oct. 18 in the Little Theatre, students of all grades took their places on stage, either performing in groups of three to five or sitting onstage, snapping when certain phrases stuck out.

The theme of the fall Spoken Word showcase was “Missing You.”  

The opening act kickstarted the show with a poem about nostalgia, referencing Hansel and Gretel. The audience’s snaps only increased as the show continued.

Each time someone forgot their lines, people said, “you got it.” Club members high-fived performers who still had their adrenaline pumping from being in the spotlight..

Peter Kahn, who sponsors Spoken Word with Adam Levin, used to hate poetry. His perspective changed when a former student recited a poem for his English class. He told himself, “I have to think this through and get kids engaged,” which sparked the creation of Spoken Word Club.

Senior Erin Smith, who joined her sophomore year, discussed the benefits of being a part of Spoken Word. She said she believes Spoken Word has made her “a better writer, better reader, and a better person.”

Kahn agreed with Smith. He said he believes Spoken Word gives students “a sense of belonging, community, and, for some, family, allowing them to understand how important it is for their voices to be heard.”

Kahn said he was proud of students, captains and rookies alike. Captains are the more experienced group leaders. Rookies are students who have not performed in a showcase yet. “45 percent of the students were rookies,” he said. Nonetheless, he thought “it was terrific. I thought the rookies did a very nice job and the captains did an amazing job preparing the rookies.”

Some students were challenged more than others. Senior Majesty Gunn had four freshmen rookies. Sophomore Lauren Flint had four rookies, and it was her first time as a captain.

The poem that Flint performed in the showcase was about mental health. She said she wrote about “missing the creativity my mental illness gave me, as well as the emotions and feelings. Even though I got over it, it’s not gone and I have to live.”

Smith interpreted the theme differently. She said she wrote about “not missing someone as much as they miss her.” Performing at the showcase allowed her to “set (myself) free.”

Smith said Spoken Word Club is important because it “creates an outlet for students who don’t have a voice, especially those of color in this climate.”


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The student newspaper of Oak Park and River Forest High School
Spoken Word doesn’t miss a beat